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1950s-Era Tonka Fire Truck, Near-Mint In The Box, Realizes $1,932

by WorthPoint Staff (02/02/12).

This 1950s-era Tonka “Suburban Pumper” fire truck, #950-6, near-mint in the original box, hammered for $1,932 in an Internet and catalog auction hosted by Serious Toyz.

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – A rare, 1950s-era Tonka “Suburban Pumper” toy fire truck, in near-mint condition and still in the box, hammered for $1,932 in an Internet and catalog auction hosted by Serious Toyz.The auction went online last December and ended Jan. 6-7, 2012. It was the 54th auction for Serious Toyz, a firm that has become synonymous with vintage toy auctions.

The Tonka fire truck—Model #950-6, bright fire engine red, with a “No. 5” emblazoned on the doors and complete with a toy red fire hydrant—was the top achiever of the more than 800 lots that crossed the block. Many of the toys were near-mint or mint-in-the-box-examples, and all lots were sold without reserve (although each carried a modest minimum opening bid).

“We saw a lot of interest overall in this auction, with strong bidding in many categories,” said Tom Miano, owner of Serious Toyz. “In some cases, bids exceeded three-to-four times the existing book values on items, with solid prices for most other lots. I’m excited because this is the first auction in about two years that has shown signs of things finally starting to turn around.

“Many of our bidders are regular people who were greatly impacted by the recession,” Miano added. “But this auction saw strong bidding from a number of long-time customers who told us they were unable to participate in other previous sales. That had a lot to do with it, but we also had a great line-up of merchandise. This wasn’t our biggest sale, but it was one of our best.”

Nearly 80 percent of all lots were sold (they met or exceeded the minimum opening bid). There were 243 active bidders, who placed about 2,800 bids.

“Another thing that made me smile,” Miano said, “was the number of bidders who took the time to thank us for hanging in and continuing to offer one of the best toy auctions in the market. Their spirit was contagious.”

This 1954 Marx “Fire House” play set in the original box was the sale’s second top lot, selling for $1,634.

Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted include a 12-percent buyer’s premium):

• Three other lots topped the $1,000 mark. A rare 1954 Marx “Fire House” play set, still in the box, hit $1,634; an equally rare 1955 “Big League Stars American League, Team B” nine-piece figure set, mint on the card and featuring Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and others, brought $1,125; and a 1950s Dopeke “Aerial Ladder (Fire) Truck” #2014, near mint in the box, garnered $1,090.

This 1955 “Big League Stars American League, Team B” figure set, mint on the card, ralized $1,126.

• A 1950s “Superior Space Port” play set, with factory-sealed contents and original brown paper packaging, climbed to $955; a 1954 Marx “Military Academy” (West Point) play set (“Complete with 6 Generals”) went to a determined bidder for $836; and rare 1960s Volkswagen bus lunch box and Thermos, showing the iconic VW microbus in red and white, rose to $808.

• A 1950s Gilbert “All-Electric Erector” set #8 ½ (a giant Ferris wheel), mint store stock, complete with instruction booklet, commanded $633; a scale model 1960 Chevrolet station wagon promotional toy car (“With Flywheel Motor!”), in the original box, fetched $538; and a 1930s Marx tin wind-up “Turnover Tank,” near mint in the box, with vivid colors, made $523.

• A scarce and large circa-1870s German-made “Bing Steinbaukasten” stone building block set in a box with an artistic rendering on the outside, breezed to $522; a 1950s Japanese-made “SSS Super Fire King Ladder Trailer” friction fire truck in the box demanded $470; and a 1960s Japanese-made battery-operated tin “Patrol Auto Tricycle,” still in the box, realized $451.

A 1950s-era Dopeke “Aerial Ladder (Fire) Truck,” Model #2014, near-mint in the box rounded out the big firefighting toys trio, finding a new home with a $1,090 price.

• A 1967 Matchbox “Mini Gift Set With Catalog” #GG-2, consisting of five Matchbox cars “and a free catalog,” topped out at $459; a 1950s Tootsietoy “Interchangeable Truck Set” #4900 machinery hauler, mint in the box and boasting colorful toy pieces, breezed to $414; and a 1950s set of eight Marx “Prehistoric Monsters and Mammals” figures, mint on the card, brought $370.

• A sharp-looking 1957 Matchbox Ford Zodiac #33 orange and silver toy car, with the original box and in great condition, sped off for $339; an actual 1960s coin-operated bathroom condom dispenser (Health Gards, “For Your Protection”), changed hands for $459; and a 1920s German Guntherman tin wind-up figure of a wild, bespectacled cat in formal wear brought $451.

• A 1957 Kenner’s “Girder & Panel Building Set” #2, store stock (“Build the Way Real Modern Buildings Are Built”), hammered for $249; a 1965 “The Munsters” coloring book, unused, with a colorful cover showing photos of all the actors from the TV show, hit $306; and a 1960 Matchbox Triumph motorcycle and sidecar #4, in the original box, zoomed away for $302.

For more information about this auction, call 866.653.8699 or 914.271.4272, e-mail to or visit the Serious Toyz website.


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